Volume 139, Number 2, July 2022
|Number of page(s)
|Biological and soft matter physics
|19 July 2022
Continuum theories of structured dielectrics
1 University of Lille, Unité de Glycobiologie Structurale et Fonctionnelle (UGSF) CNRS UMR8576 59000 Lille, France
2 School of Physical Sciences and Kavli Institute for Theoretical Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100049, China
3 CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100190, China
4 Wenzhou Institute of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences - Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325000, China
Received: 19 April 2022
Accepted: 29 June 2022
Aqueous dielectrics are ubiquitous in soft- and bio-nano matter systems. The theoretical description of such systems in terms of continuum (“macroscopic”) theory remains a serious challenge. In this perspective we first review the existing continuum phenomenological approaches that have been developed in the past decades. In order to describe a path to advance continuum theory beyond these approaches we then take recourse to the Onsager-Dupuis theory of the dielectric behaviour of ice, which, for the case of a solid dielectric, exemplified important conceptual issues we deem relevant for the development of a more fundamental continuum theory of liquid dielectrics. Subsequently, we discuss our recently proposed continuum field theory of structured dielectrics, which provides a generalized approach to the dielectric behavior of such systems.
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